New Driver's Guide to Various Dashboard Warning Lights

Anyone who drives a car knows that while you are on the road, a whole bunch of dazzling warning lights pop up on the dashboard. And the icons of these indicators are vital for judging the working condition of the car. Many people, especially new drivers, don't quite understand what these icons mean. Here's a guide. Let's take a look!

1. Check Engine Light


Turn on the ignition switch, and the light comes on, then goes off after 3 or 4 seconds ( In some cars, the indicator only goes off after the engine starts ).

After starting the engine, the indicator should go off. Otherwise, the electronic control system has problems and needs check and repair. Some types of faulty sensors in the engine can make this light stays on.

If the indicator illuminates during driving, and the engine has no obvious faults such as juddering or oil leakage. Continue driving! But the following engine maintenance is inevitable.

2. Water Temperature


This light indicates the too high coolant temperature or lack of the coolant. When it is on, pull over and shut down the car immediately. The measured temperature is too high. Then replenish the coolant or continue driving when it cools to the normal temperature.

3. Battery



The light shows the working state of the generator. Under normal conditions, turn on the ignition switch, the light comes on. When the engine starts, it goes off. If the light isn't on or keeps on, there is a problem with the charging system. Repair is necessary. 

If the alternator belt doesn't damage or fall off, it is still possible to drive 30-50 km with the air conditioning and headlights off when the light is on. The dead battery can't supply enough power to the vehicle's electrical system.

4. Low Oil Pressure



This light indicates a loss of pressure in the engine lubrication. It may be a lack of oil or a problem with the lubrication system. Check the circuit or replace the faulty mechanical devices.

In this case, you should shut down the engine immediately. Check and repair. You can seek help from the mechanic. If you continue to drive, there will be excessive engine damages.

5. Brake



Some vehicles combine the light of the handbrake and the brake into one. When the handbrake pulls up, the light comes on. Problems such as the insufficient brake fluid and abnormal brake pressure also cause the lighting up. The brake failure is unsettling.

In some vehicles, this indicator and the ABS warning light can come on at the same time.

6. Airbag

This icon shows whether the airbag is working correctly. The light comes on when the ignition switch turns on. It should go off within 7 seconds. If the light keeps lighting up or doesn't come on at all, the bad airbag needs repair.

Note: In addition to the protection provided by the seat belts, the airbag offers further protection for the driver. The airbag inflates and works in conjunction with the seat belts only when a severe frontal or side impact happens. These two parts prevent and reduce injury.

7. ABS

After turn on the ignition switch for about 4 seconds, the light goes off. If the ABS works properly, the light goes off while the vehicle is running.

If it stays on or doesn't light up at all, the ABS is faulty. You can continue to drive at this time but avoid braking sharply at high speed.

8. Low Fuel Level

This icon indicates that the fuel is about to run out. It is usually no problem to run 20 km from the time the light comes on to when the fuel runs out. Some vehicles can still run about 50 km.

If you don‘t refuel as soon as possible after this light comes on, some car parts can be damaged during continued driving. For example, the fuel pump assembly will heat up too much and reduce the service life.

9. Car Service

The car service light reminds us that the vehicle is due for the oil and filter change. In some cars, it sometimes means that the vehicle fails and needs repair, not just maintenance.

On the other hand, regular car care in daily life is necessary. It ensures that the car runs in excellent condition.

10. Brake Pad

When this light is on, the brake pad has been worn to the limit. It needs replacement. If the brake pad's thickness is enough and the light illuminates, there is a fault in the indicator wire or the instrument alarm system. Then the first thing to do is to repair the indicator.

11. Tire Pressure Monitoring

The symbol means low tire pressure. If the tire isn't completely deflated, you can seek help from a mechanic to check if the tire pressure is insufficient. If the tire pressure has no problem, the indicator system may be defective and needs repair.

12. Power Steering

This one is in the vehicle that equips with electric steering. When the light illuminates, the electric steering system damages and needs a repair in time. The electronic steering lock doesn't work correctly, which needs to be treated with caution.

13. Pre-Heat

This one uses in diesel vehicles. When the ignition switch turns on, the indicator light comes on, which means that the car engine is warming up. You can start the engine after 30-50 seconds when the light goes off.

If the vehicle is already at normal operating temperature or if the outside temperature is above 5 °C. When the ignition switch turns on, the light only illuminates for 1-3 seconds.

The light should not illuminate for a long time under any circumstances. If so, there is a fault. Repairs should be carried out as soon as possible.

14. Car Stability Control

Turn on the ignition switch. The car stability light is on. It should go off after a few seconds. If it keeps lighting up or doesn't light up at all, the stability system is out of order. The problem may arise in the ABS wheel speed sensor.

15. Seat Belt

Turn on the ignition switch, the light illuminates. It goes off when people in the car put on seat belts. Usually, it takes charge of the two seat belts in the front seats.

16. Car Security

The icon means that the vehicle's anti-theft system triggers. The car is locking. The engine can't start unless the car computer decodes.

However, sometimes the engine can start when this indicator is triggered due to interference or other reasons. At this time, don't shut the engine off. Drive directly to the nearest repairing shop. Otherwise, there is a possibility that it can't start again.

17. Frost Warning

This one illuminates when the temperature outside is too low. In this situation, the tires provide worse grip. Drivers should reduce their driving speed and keep a safe enough distance from the car in front of them to prevent emergency braking.

18. Turn Indicators

The car turns left or turns right, these two shows the car's working state.

19. Low Washer Fluid

This one reminds you to add windshield washer fluid.

20. Air Suspension

This one shows the working state of the air suspension.

21. Exterior Light Fault

Vehicle headlamps may damage. If this light comes on, you should check all car headlamps carefully. If there is no problem visually, use the specific equipment to diagnose the car computer. 

If the bulbs are not of the same power, this light also illuminates.

22. Cruise Control

The cruise control indicator is to reduce fatigue driving on open or flat roads with few vehicles. When it keeps on, the cruise switch turns on. Vehicle speed sensors are crucial to this function.

23. Front Fog Light

The front fog light illuminates.

24. Rear Fog Light

The rear fog light illuminates.

25. Traction Control Off

When this indicator is on, the vehicle has problems. The maximum power is off. The car is in a state of protection. Maintenance is necessary. It could be the problem of the electronic engine or the chassis system. 

Some vehicles have too much brake pad wear, which leads to a low brake fluid level. The intermittent illumination of the brake warning light also causes the shut down of the traction control system.

26. Automatic Gearbox

This one shows that the chassis or transmission is out of order. The automatic gearbox is too hot, or you can't engage a gear. You should check and the repair it some time.

27. Low Oil Level

When the light comes on, the engine oil level is too low. Replenishment in time is compulsory. If the indicator light is still on after tanking up, reset the device. It works.

28. Fatigue Driving

This one reminds us that the vehicle has been running for a long time. You'd better go to a service area to take a break. Have some coffee and take a nap to avoid fatigue driving.

29. Economy Mode

The engine chassis system and the air conditioning system are often associated with the economy mode. When the car works in this mode, the cold air conditioning pump cuts off. It saves fuel and increases economic benefits.

30. Low Coolant Level

This one tells us that the coolant level is low. The coolant level sensor collects the information. It needs replenishment promptly. Also, be careful to open the water tank cover when the engine is hot. You don't want to scald yourself.

31. High Speed Warning

Some vehicles have speed warning alerts. Once a specific speed limit is set, the light goes on when you exceed the speed limit, and the buzzer makes noises. It's advisable to slow down in time.

32. Parking Brake

This one tells us that the handbrake ( including the electric handbrake system ) is in the locking position ( At this time, the handbrake pulls up ).

The bad parking brake can be a trouble when you park on the ramp. Take care!


Red icons tell us about the working state of the car, such as the battery, oil pressure, water temperature, brake, etc. 

Green ones show the turn signal, cruise control, fog light, etc.

Yellow icons remind us of the engine fault, traction control, exterior light fault, etc.

As long as the green light is on, it doesn't affect the vehicle. Just continue to drive. When the yellow or the red light illuminates, you must carefully check where the problem is. Consider whether it's OK to continue to drive. 

Especially when the water temperature, oil level, brake light keep on, just pull over with no delay. Continue to drive damages the engine. Even the driver would be in danger.

For more information on engine parts or car service, come to visit Delcoribo Blog soon. Alternatively, you can contact us<span style="font-size: med

Lauritz Carolsfeld        July 15, 2021

Delcoribo is a leading auto parts manufacturer and

supplier, providing high-quality and affordable

products to wholesalers around the world.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Home|Terms of Use|Privacy Policy|© 2022, Inc. or its affiliates.
  • Follow Us

We use cookies to improve your browsing experience. By using this website, you consent to the use of cookies. More